Next Saturday, July 23rd 2011, a small bit of martial arts history will be made, as Scranton MMA will present the  Electric City  Freestyle Judo championships,   the first ever Freestyle Judo tournament  to be held on the east coast, at Marywood University in Scranton PA. There have been many people emailing the office in anticipation for the event with questions regarding the differences between Freestyle Judo and   Standard IJF judo  So here in brief, is A beginners Guide to  Freestyle Judo:


Freestyle Judo was  founded in 2008 by former US National team coach Steve Scott. Whose goal was to create a sport which brought back some “old school” elements of judo  such as the “Hard ippon” and more time for matwork while including some “new school” elements like “No gi” divisions and points on for sweeps from guard. It is governed by the Amateur Athletic Union.

Rules and Scoring:

A match can be won by IPPON, a SUPERIOR DECISION (12 point spread) or points decision (one contestant has more points than the other at the end of regulation) In overtime, first score of any type will win.

Instead of the traditional yuko, and waza ari, and koka of the past , Freestyl e judo employs a numerical points system. The following is the Scoring breakdown for  Freestyle judo

IPPON will still win the match but the throw must be executed with force and control. There are no “rolling ippons”

4 POINTS  for a throw that would be called Waza-ari.

2 POINTS  for a throw that would be called Yuko.

1 POINT  for a throw that lands the opponent on his buttocks, side with less force than a 2 point throw or on his front side where he lands on his torso (chest and stomach).




4 POINTS  for a hold-down for a length of 20 seconds.

2 POINTS  for a hold-down of at least 10 seconds and less than 20 seconds.

1 POINT  for a hold-down of at least 5 seconds and less than 10 seconds.


At this time, no IPPON is awarded for Osaekomi.  That may change (and certainly will for freestyle judo matches for children who cannot use armlocks or chokes/strangles).





IPPON scored in the same way as in the IJF rules.




1 POINT  for breaking an opponent down and turning him onto his back/backside.

1 POINT  for passing an opponent’s guard and getting past his legs.

1 POINT  for rolling (sweeping) an opponent over from the bottom (guard) position.


PASSIVE GROUNDFIGHTING:  If one contestant lays on his front or is on his hands/arms and knees balled up and avoiding combat with his opponent for approximately 10 seconds, that contestant is considered passive and overly defensive and will be penalized.

So, it says “JUDO” does that mean Jiu-jitsu guys and Wrestlers can’t compete?


NO. Not at all! Freestyle judo allows more time on the ground which is perfect for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practitioners and also permits leg grabbing (Doubles, singles, fireman’s carry) so it’s great for wrestlers.

Freestyle Tournaments are very similar to a Grapplers Quest or a NAGA event, except with Ippon added and at a fraction of the cost